Saturday, December 5, 2020
Tech

The best Linux apps for Chromebooks

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Being able to install Linux apps on Chrome OS opens up some fascinating new possibilities — particularly if you’re an advanced user.

After all, while a Chromebook’s standard combo of web apps, Chrome apps, and Android apps is more than sufficient for most folks’ needs, some of us still require (or maybe just prefer) traditional local programs for certain specific purposes. The presence of Linux apps on Chrome OS means we can have our cake and eat it, too — by enjoying the speed, simplicity, and security of a Chromebook while also embracing the occasional heavy-duty desktop app.

Unless you’re a Linux veteran, though, figuring out where to begin isn’t exactly easy. Linux apps are a whole other world from the regular realm of desktop software, in terms of both what titles are available and how you go about finding and installing them.

Well, consider this your cheat sheet: I’ve spent ample time exploring and testing a variety of productivity-oriented Linux apps to see what works best and makes the most sense in the Chrome OS environment. These are the programs I’d recommend — and they’re all completely free to use.

Before you begin, you’ll need to confirm that your Chromebook is capable of running Linux apps and then set it up to do so. If you haven’t yet done that, click over to my step-by-step guide to get started — then come back here once you’ve got everything up and running.

LibreOffice: A fully featured local office suite

Nowadays, you’ve got no shortage of options for word processing, spreadsheet work, and presentation creation on a Chromebook. You can use Google’s own Docs office suite, of course, or you can turn to Microsoft’s web-based Office apps. If you have a paid Microsoft 365 subscription, you can even install the Office Android apps and use those on your Chrome OS device.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.



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